FPCCI discusses budget proposals with Finance Adviser

ISLAMABAD: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) held a video-link virtual meeting with the Adviser to PM on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and discussed the FPCCI proposals for the ensuing federal budget 2020-21.
President FPCCI Mian Anjum Nisar urged the adviser to finance to use his good offices in waiver of demurrage and container detention charges of those 20,000 containers which could not cleared within the specified time period due to lockdown in the country. The adviser replied, “Progress in waiver of demurrage and detention charges would be made within next 24 hours.”
Zakaria Usman, Convener of the FPCCI Budget Advisory Council (BAC), said that the customs tariff be levied on the basis of cascading to curb post-budget anomalies. He proposed to encourage import substitution industries and export of non-traditional items, establishment of value added industries, promotion of Branding etc. He also invited attention of the Adviser to 6000-7000 motor vehicles which have been stuck-up due to non-availability of encashment certificate because the international flights are not operational and the concerned diaspora cannot come to Pakistan. He proposed that land be given to investors at cheaper rate for establishment of industries within two years otherwise the land should be confiscated.
The adviser in his statement said that he would hold a joint meeting with FPCCI and Chairman of the Industrial Zone Authority to take decision on establishment of Industrial Zone. He invited FPCCI team to discuss the issue of levying duty on the basis of cascading principle. Regarding vehicle stuck-up at port due to non-availability of encashment certificate, he said the FPCCI to talk to Ministry of Commerce.
In response to inordinate delay in Income Tax, Sales Tax and export related refunds (DLTL) he said refunds would be made to all, whether exporter or non-exporter within the stipulated time frame otherwise he may be contacted and informed. He informed that cheques of Rs. 40 billion refunds have been issued to the taxpayers.
He appreciating the FPCCI pre-budget proposals said that these are very comprehensive and would be discussed in detail in Joint meeting with Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries & Production, Razak Dawood, Adviser to PM for Commerce, Textile and Investment and FPCCI.
Meanwhile, Bernhard Stephan Schlagheck, Ambassador of Germany accompanied by French Ambassador Dr. Marc Barety and Economic Counselor Mrs. Anais Boitiere, called on the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh here at the Finance Division.
The Advisor welcomed the Ambassadors and shared with them the overall picture of the country’s economy amid the Corona Virus pandemic and its future impact on the overall progress of the economy. He shared that before the pandemic Pakistan was successfully able to control its current account deficit and was expecting a growth of 3% during the ongoing financial year after observing strict financial discipline. However, after the outbreak the growth projections have become difficult to realize.
He shared that due to the ongoing circumstances it is expected that the growth might remain between -1% to -1.5%. He then, told the ambassadors about the details of the relief package offered to the vulnerable by the Prime Minister through Ehsaas Program and the steps which the government is taking to support the SME sector.
The Ambassadors then discussed with the Adviser the details of the debt rescheduling offered by G-20 countries and the need for any further loans. The Adviser said that Pakistan’s firm stance in favor of debt rescheduling drive at the G-20 forum was based on the belief that the poorer countries genuinely require this assistance though Pakistan Specifically had benefitted lesser from the said relief.
He also shared that $1.8 billion due in debt servicing to G-20 countries till December 2020 are under process of rescheduling. Pakistan is not going for any commercial loan rescheduling until now, said the Adviser.
The Finance Division shall adhere to the requirements of Debt Limitation Act before planning to take up additional burden as most of the loans will be for the purpose of clearing old debt stocks, shared the Adviser. The Adviser appreciated the support offered by the friendly countries and said that he hopes that the cooperation will continue in future for the benefit of the people of the three countries. – TLTP, PID

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